Dragonforce: Ventura Theater – Ventura, Ca – 10/12/19

British power metal band Dragonforce released their eighth studio album Extreme Power Metal on September 27, 2019. They are best known for their incredibly fast guitar solos which often sound like soundtracks for a video game. They rose to fame when they released their most famous song Through the Fire and Flames on the popular video game, Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock. Dragonforce has recently had a couple of lineup changes starting with longtime keyboardist Vadim Pruzhanov who left Dragonforce in 2018. In August, longtime bassist Frédéric Leclercq left Dragonforce to join German thrash metal band, Kreator. YouTube start Stevie T was to join Dragonforce as their bassist, but had to back out due to personal problems. As a last minute addition, Dragonforce brought Once Human bassist Damien Rainaud, who also produced and mixed Extreme Power Metal. Dragonforce announced a short tour and would conclude at the MegaCruise. The final stop on the tour was the Majestic Ventura Theater in downtown Ventura, California. Opening acts Darwen’s Theory, Starkill, and Dance With the Dead warmed up the slightly packed venue.
One of the first things you’ll notice is how on the stage, there are two giant arcade machines playing clips of classic arcade games like Metal Slug, Street Fighter, and Altered Beast.
The lights went out and the venue chanted Dragonforce‘s name. Lasers lit up the stage with smoke and gave the lasers an even more beautiful sight. The band members came out one by one with vocalist Marc Hudson being the last one to come out singing the intro to the opening song Highway to Oblivion which is also the first track on the new album and the crowd was met with a shot of confetti from the cannons up front. Dragonforce was on fire from the start as guitarists/founding members Herman Li and Sam Totman viciously shred through solos in perfect harmony along with Hudson’s high-pitch vocals. The next song was the classic Fury of the Storm and this time, the audience was met with fog from fog cannons. Dragonforce had several toys to play with on stage and the first one brought out was Hudson using a gun that shot out fog in a red light made to look like a laser. For the next song, Dragonforce made note on how they loved video games and this next song was based on The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim and was also a song from the new album. The song was called The Last Dragonborn and fans of the video game could surely relate. Dragonforce is known for having some lengthy songs so it wasn’t unusual for some of their songs to be over seven minutes long. One of the funnest moments of the show was when Hudson let the audience know that there was an audience member who was having his bachelor party at the show. Hudson brought him onstage and let him know that it was in fact a terrible decision to have his bachelor party at a Dragonforce show. Regardless, Hudson was determined to give him a good time. The bachelor was sat on a stool while an extremely beautiful stripper girl came out to give the bachelor a little dance. She then blindfolded the bachelor and left the stage. Hudson signaled over a large stage worker man who came over to the bachelor and started dancing on him, removed his shirt, and even massaged the bachelor. He then left and the woman came back to remove the blindfold, unbeknownst to the bachelor of what had just happened to him. Back to the performance, Dragonforce played another new song, Heart Demolition. Dragonforce took a quick break while Hudson grabbed a guitar and played a medley of classic video game music followed by drummer Gee Anzalone showing his skills with a drum solo. Dragonforce came back out and continued the show with Black Fire, Razorblade Meltdown, Cry Thunder, and Remembrance Day. To end the show, Dragonforce played the fan-favorite Valley of the Damned from their debut album of the same name, then left the stage. After a small break, Hudson came back out to thank the audience for coming out and spending the last stop of the tour with them. The rest of Dragonforce came back out for some encores. The first encore is the ending track to the new album and is a very interesting cover song. Hudson asked the audience if they had ever seen the movie, Titanic. The audience cheered and Dragonforce asked for a Celine Dion pit for the cover of My Heart Will Go On. A different take on it, but Dragonforce‘s twist on it made it work perfectly. To end the night, Dragonforce played their most famous song Through the Fire and Flames and the audience loved moshing to the song. The show came to an end and Dragonforce was joined on stage by all the opening bands as they celebrated for a tour finale. Dragonforce will always be welcomed in Ventura County.

 

Obituary/Abbath/Midnight: The Observatory – Santa Ana, Ca – 10/4/19

Another amazing metal tour made its way to the USA. This time, America would be blessed with Devil Master, Midnight, Abbath, and Obituary crushing venues in their path. This time, the Observatory in Santa Ana would be the battlegrounds for metalheads coming from the surrounding cities to witness this brutal lineup that was not to be missed. To no surprise, the show sold out and packed to the brim for this wild and unforgettable night.
Devil Master served as a nice start to the show, but things didn’t get wild until black rock ‘n’ roll/thrash metal band Midnight took the stage. Midnight recently signed with the legendary Metal Blade Records label and released their single, Rebirth By Blasphemy along with an instrumental track, Afterbirth. Midnight is currently working on a new album, their first with MBR and will hopefully be released sometime next year. The hooded figures in Midnight came out and started with Penetratal Ecstasy. Without wasting any time, the already packed audience went crazy and formed a mosh pit. The next song was another thrashy metal song, Poison Trash. By this time, the fans took advantage of there not being a barricade from the stage and started storming the stage and for the rest of the performance, stage divers and crowd surfers constantly made appearances. There’s never a calm or quiet moment at a Midnight show and such facts are proven as they laid waste to the audience by playing songs like Evil Like a Knife, You Can’t Stop Steel, Black Rock’n’Roll, and Satanic Royalty. The show had to come to an end eventually and Midnight chose Unholy and Rotten for the show’s closer. Fans continued to mosh and stage dive which is always expected at a Midnight show. Barely two bands in and still the show was just getting started.
Abbath is the solo band of Norwegian black metal legend Olve “Abbath” Eikemo. He is best known for founding the Norwegian black metal band Immortal in 1991. Abbath left Immortal in 2015 and started his solo band that same year and released their self-titled debut album in 2016. In 2019, they released their second album Outstrider and have been touring ever since. Plenty of Abbath/Immortal fans were seen in attendance and couldn’t wait to see their favorite black metal musician. The stage had a huge silver Abbath logo showing who was next to play. Abbath came out and started with Count the Dead from their debut album. Abbath unleashed his legendary black metal vocals onto the audience and they quickly went crazy with mosh pits. Abbath went on to play two new songs which were Bridge of Spams, The Artifex, and Harvest Pyre. Abbath can’t forget the legacy he had with Immortal so what better way to treat the audience with some Immortal covers. The first cover was In My Kingdom Cold followed by Tyrants. Abbath was ferocious during the whole set never letting there be a dull moment. After a few more tracks, Abbath had to call it a night by playing To War! from his debut album. Abbath finished up the show and thanked the audience by doing his infamous crab walk from one end of the stage to the other giving everyone high fives. Only the headlining act of the night was left.
Obituary is no doubt one of the greatest death metal bands of all time. On this tour, they’re celebrating 35 years since the release of their debut album, Slowly We Rot. The venue was packed to the max, especially the pit area where fans were surely hungry to mosh. The lights went out once again and the sold out crowd cheered as the members of Obituary came out one by one. All the members of Obituary were present minus singer John Tardy. The members on stage played a simple instrumental death metal intro to warm up the crowd and even with that, fans were moshing. Tardy eventually came out and Obituary finally started with Redneck Stomp. The entire floor area came to life as everyone shoved and moshed to one of death metal’s greatest bands. It almost hurt to watch everyone smash against each other. Obituary would continue the onslaught as they played brutal tracks like Chopped in Half, Dying, Internal Bleeding, and Suffocation. Obituary is a brutal band live and was only matched by the audience themselves as fans continued to crush each other and stage dive. Bodies were everywhere. The show seemed to come to an end when Obituary played Intoxication. Obituary left the stage, but the audience still seemed hungry for more. After cheering and chanting the band’s name, Obituary came back out for some encores. The first encore was A Dying World. To properly end the show, Obituary made note on how they were celebrating the 35th anniversary of their debut album and the finale of the show is the title track from that album, Slowly We Rot. The entire floor came alive once again as the most brutal mosh pit of the night formed with bodies going in every direction and stage divers everywhere. It was easily one of the best tours of the year with a metal package like this. 

 

Obituary

 

Abbath

 

Midnight

Lacuna Coil: The Regent – Los Angeles, Ca – 10/1/19

Lacuna Coil is a Gothic metal band from Italy. In 2016, they released their eighth studio album, Delirium. Their ninth studio album Black Anima will be released on October 11th. Lacuna Coil is currently on a co-headlining tour with metalcore giants, All That Remains. The tour also includes Bad Omens, Toothgrinder, and Uncured. This proved to be a worthy package of bands for metalheads. It’s no surprise to see a lot of people were mainly there for Lacuna Coil judging by people’s conversations and merch they were wearing. Regardless, people were there to have fun and a Friday night in Los Angeles is always fun.
The venue was nicely packed as Lacuna Coil prepared to take the stage. The lights went out and the venue cheered as the members of Lacuna Coil came out and stated the show with Blood, Tears, Dust from their Delirium album. Vocalist Andrea Ferro would handle the male vocals of the music while the absolutely beautiful Cristina Scabbia handles the female vocals. The whole band was on point playing their music as it gave you a rush of adrenaline and you couldn’t help but scream and sing along to the catchy music. The next song was Trip the Darkness, another one of their best songs. The fans were seen with nothing but smiles as there’s always nothing but good vibes whenever Lacuna Coil plays. The third song was the band’s most popular song, Our Truth. The band was very energetic and sounded so good live, it’s a shame they’re not bigger than they already are. Lacuna Coil kept playing all the hits as they beautifully performed classic like Zombies, Downfall, My Demons, and The House of Shame. Scabbia took a quick break to talk to the audience on how they are loving the crowd and the whole tour and of course thankful for all their tour mates in the other bands. Scabbia also made note on how with them having limited time on stage also meant having a smaller setlist. For the next song, Lacuna Coil would let the fans decide between two songs. The song choices were Swamped or Heaven’s a Lie. Heaven’s a Lie got the stronger response so Lacuna Coil went on to play that. Nearing the end of the show, Lacuna Coil next played a brand new song from the upcoming new album titled, Reckless. Scabbia took another quick break to address the audience giving a positive speech to the crowd on how it’s ok to be different and to love themselves. To end the show, Lacuna Coil played Nothing Stands in Our Way. The band went all out with this performance being one of the best live songs played on their set. Lacuna Coil finished up their set and their fans showed nothing but love for them as they cheered for them. One can only hope that Lacuna Coil comes back for a proper headline tour in the USA.

 

Voivod/Revocation: El Rey – Los Angeles, Ca – 9/28/19

Metal bands Voivod and Revocation announced a co-headlining tour and brought with them a stacked variety of metal with them which included Cryptopsy, Skeletal Remains and Conjurer (UK). Both Voivod and Revocation were promoting their most recent album releases so it only made sense to tour together and bring metalheads from different genres together. One of the many stops on the tour was the El Rey theater in Los Angeles and it was a great way to spend your Saturday night.
Voivod are heavy metal legends from Canada and released their fourteenth studio album The Wake in 2018. With fourteen studio albums, you know Voivod has a lot of history in the metal books and have released a variety of music ranging from heavy metal, to speed metal and thrash metal. A variety of sound for depending on your mood.  Voivod came out and started the show with Post Society. The heavy metal legends unleashed their spacey metal music onto the audience as they cheered and moshed. For the second song, Snake welcomed the audience to their UFO as they next played a fan favorite, Psychic Vacuum. Being a super catchy song, fans were seen raising their horns and singing along as well as keeping the mosh pits alive. Snake made sure the audience knew that they had a new album and for the next song, played the title track of the album titled Obsolete Beings. After a few more songs, Snake had to stop and let the audience know that this next song was from 1987 and told the audience how he remembers back in the day, metalheads would stage dive and crowd surf and was wondering if such a thing still existed. Apparently it was up to the fans to show him. The next song was Overreaction and the fans did Voivod proud by moshing for the whole song and even a few crowd surfers and a single stage divers that was able to get away with it. Nearing the end of the show, Snake mentioned how it was the end of Summer and it was now…Fall, which was also the name of the next song. To end the show, a special instrument was brought out. Guitarist Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain brought out the guitar of the late Denis “Piggy” D’Amour which is the last guitar he played back in Ozzfest 2003 for his final show before sadly passing away. It was a great way to honor his memory. The final song of the night was one of Voivod‘s best songs which is simply titled…Voivod. A simple name, but very effective. A thrash metal song that drove the audience wild with moshing and crowd surfing. A great performance by these heavy metal legends. Voivod finished the song, thanked the audience, then left the stage for the headlining band of the tour.
Revocation is a technical death metal band from Boston, Massachusetts. In 2018, they released their seventh studio album, The Outer Ones. To mark the one-year anniversary of the album’s release, Revocation chose to play the album in its entirety. The lights went out once again as the members of Revocation made their way to the stage and started the show with the first track from the newest album, Of Unworldly Origin. Right away, you could hear how Revocation brings their tech-death metal sound to life. Guitarist/vocalist David Davidson played his 7-string guitar to precision as heard on the album itself. The death metal music made the audience go wild as mosh pits happened throughout the performance. The next song was the next song on the album, That Which Consumes All Things followed by Blood Atonement. Aside from the music, Revocation‘s performance was accompanied by an impressive light show made different for each song so you feel almost as if you’re in space yourself. Davidson took a small break to let the fans know about how this show marked exactly one year since the album’s release and hoped the audience was enjoying the album being played in full. Revocation continued to play songs from the album Vanitas, The Outer Ones and even a song about Satan, Luciferous. The album’s finale was A Starless Darkness, a beautifully long ending at 7 minutes and 15 seconds. Instead of ending the show, Davidson asked the audience if they wanted one more song. The audience naturally cheered and so Revocation treated the fans to an old school song Dismantle the Dictator from their 2009 sophomore album, Existence is Futile. Revocation finished up their powerful performance and left the stage. Fans were satisfied with the whole tour and proved why more tours like this should happen more often.

 

Revocation

 

Voivod

Eluveitie/Korpiklaani: The Regent – Los Angeles, Ca – 9/27/19

Folk metal giants Eluveitie (El-vay-ti) and Korpiklaani (Finnish: The Backwoods Clan) embarked on a co-headlining tour across North America to please their legions of folk metal fanatics. One of the early stops on the tour was the Regent in downtown Los Angeles. Even before doors opened, plenty of fans were waiting in anticipation for two of folk metal’s most popular bands.
Korpiklaani is a folk metal band from Finland. In 2018, they released their tenth studio album, Kulkija (“The Wanderer”). Their songs are a mix of English songs and Finnish. As they prepared to go on stage, you could see the stage was setup with a backdrop matching their album cover and fences set throughout the stage giving the band a traditional folk feel. The lights went out and the packed venue cheered as the members of Korpiklaani made their way to the stage. They started the show with Hunting Song. Right away, you could feel their folk metal sound as they perfectly blended metal with traditional instruments, a violin and accordion. Their music just wants to make you get up and dance and is full of energy. The next song was Sahti (“Moonshine”) from their previous 2015 album, Noita (“Witch”). Once again, the music drove fans to jump and mosh in traditional metal style. The third song was one of Korpiklaani‘s many songs about drinking, The Land of A Thousand Drinks. Korpiklaani is always a fun band to see live as it’s almost a crime to not drink and/or get drunk at their shows since a lot of their songs are abut drinking and alcohol. All the band members were energetic with not a dull moment during their performance and made sure the audience had lots of fun at their show. Korpiklaani kept up the dancing and drinking as they played classics like Happy Little Boozer, Let’s Drink, Lempo (“Darn”) and Wooden Pints. Nearing their end of the show, Korpiklaani decided to treat the fans to a song called…Beer Beer. What a surprise. Regardless, fans danced and moshed to this super fun folk metal band. To end the night, vocalist Jonne Järvelä told the audience how since they had beer, now they needed…Vodka! And so Korpiklaani finished their show with their most popular song, Vodka. The song is in English so it’s super easy and fun to sing along to. Korpiklaani wrapped up their show and left the stage. So much fun, yet the main band of the tour was still waiting to come on.
Eluveitie is a folk metal band from Switzerland. On April 5th, 2019, they released their eighth studio album titled, Ategnatos. This is the first US tour featuring the band’s major lineup change from 2016 and their first US tour since their previous one in 2015. A lot of Eluveitie‘s songs are written and sung in the ancient extinct language, Gaulish. Their lyrics include references to Celtic mythology. They also use traditional European instruments like the hurdy-gurdy, bagpipes, flutes, and whistles.  The lights went out once again and the almost full venue cheered once again as the members of Eluveitie made their way to the stage with singer Chrigel Glanzmann being the last one out. They started the show with the title track of the new album, Ategnatos. Glanzmann unleashed his folk metal growls onto the audience and drove them wild as they continued to mosh to the music. The next song was King from their 2014 album, Origins. Joining Glanzmann on vocals is newcomer Fabienne Erni who provides the female vocals of the band as well as plays the celtic harp. For the third song, Glanzmann asked the audience if they wanted the English version of the song for The Call of the Mountains or the Swiss German version titled, De Ruef vo de Bärge. Naturally, European metal fanatics prefer the non-English version of a song. The song was executed beautifully with Erni singing the whole song in Swiss German. Eluveitie next played another brand new song Deathwalker followed by a fan favorite, Quoth the Raven. Glanzmann took a quick break from the show let the audience know that it has been a long time since they last came and how good it feels to be back and was happy and appreciative seeing all the fans that came out to spend their Friday with Eluveitie. One of the most beautiful songs performed was A Rose For Epona. Erni was again shined with her angelic voice where everyone just stayed still and watched in awe. The next song was Thousandfold and was another fan favorite. Fans loved singing along, moshing and even crowd surfing. So much energy given off by Eluveitie, yet you can’t help but let the music take over you. To more great songs Ambiramus and Havoc were performed to perfection. Nearing the end of the show, Eluveitie performed another new song Breathe. To end the show, the song Helvetios was performed which is one of their best songs. Eluveitie left the stage, but the crowd wasn’t eager to go home just yet as they stayed put and cheered some more. After a short break, Eluvetie came back out for some encores. The first encore was Rebirth, the first single from the new album. To end the night, Eluveitie performed their most famous song, Inis Mona. The crowd went absolutely wild as the biggest mosh pit of the night formed. Eluveitie finished their set, thanked the audience once again for an amazing night, then left the stage. It was a great night for folk metal and hopefully it’s not long before Eluveitie and Korpiklaani return.

 

Eluveitie

 

Korpiklaani

Phantogram: Fox Theater – Pomona, California 9/21/19

Phantogram is an electronic rock band from New York. They have released three albums, four EP’s, and ten singles. They have an upcoming fourth album that will be released in the near future. After being on break for a bit, Phantogram is back on the road. A Saturday in downtown Pomona seemed like a good setting for one of the final stops on the tour. Even before doors opened, fans were lined up outside the venue in anticipation to see Phantogram.
As Phantogram prepared to come on stage, the venue had filled up to where it was too crowded in some places to walk through. The lights went out and the packed audience cheered as the two core members singer Sarah Barthel and singer/guitarist Josh Carter made their way to the stage. Phantogram played the intro track News Today which will be one of the new tracks on the upcoming album. After that, they started with their hit single Black Out Days from their previous 2014 album, Voices. Phantogram was off to a fiery start with the electronic rock sound with Barthel and her pop singing backed up by Carter’s spacey guitar-playing. The next song was Run Run Blood and it’s a fun song to sing along to. Phantogram‘s stage lights consisted of primarily red with some bright flashes every now and then. The main highlight was the back-lit screen in the far back that was showing different visuals and colors adding to the spacey feeling of the show and music. The third song performed was the single and extremely catchy Don’t Move which ironically makes you wanna move and dance. Phantogram wasn’t much for words in between songs and instead let the music do the talking for them. Barthel would regularly introduce her best friend as “Josh motherfuckin’ Carter”. Their back-lit screen would show more crazy visuals that seemed almost mesmerizing and went along perfectly with the music. Phantogram went on to play more of their hits such as You Don’t Get Me High Anymore, Mouthful of Diamonds, Howling at the Moon and Cruel World. Being that Phantogram is working on new music, it only made sense that they play some of those new tunes which will most likely be seen on the upcoming new album. Those new songs were Into Happiness, Mister Impossible and Gaunt Kids. Phantogram next played was is possibly their most famous song, Fall In Love. The audience cheered from hearing the song as they danced and sang along. Upon finishing the song, Barthel took a few minutes to talk to the audience and urged them to quiet down so she can talk about a serious matter. She talked about how during the recording of their third album Three in 2016, her sister and Carter’s best friend Becky committed suicide. She talked about how no matter how hard things get and no matter how alone or sad you feel, to never go away and to reach out to friends and loved ones for help. The last song of the night was another brand new song called Ceremony and it was written for and dedicated to Barthel’s sister. Phantogram finished the song then left the stage. The audience didn’t seem to wanna go home yet so they stayed and cheered for the band. After a small break, Phantogram came back out for some encores. The first encore was Answer and for this song, Barthel made the audience turn on the flashlights on their phones and illuminate the venue giving the song an even more beautiful vibe. To end the show, Phantogram played another one of their biggest hits, When I’m Small. It was the perfect ending for this show. Phantogram finished once again, thanked the audience for coming out and left the stage. Fans were very happy with the performance as there were nothing but smiles seen everywhere.

 

Arkona: Whisky A Go Go – Hollywood, Ca – 9/11/19

The Pagan Rebellion tour made its way to the legendary Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood, California. The tour featured Russian folk metal band Arkona and Estonian folk metal band, Metsatöll. Italian dwarves Wind Rose were supposed to be part of the tour, but were forced to drop out due to visa issues. Even with these two bands, it was still a great lineup for European metal fanatics to enjoy. The Whisky was alive with metalheads even on a Wednesday night.
Metsatöll released their seventh studio album earlier this year titled Katk Kutsariks. As you have probably noticed, Metsatöll right their titles in their native Estonian language. Translating the names and lyrics of their songs can be tricky given that there is no real English translation. Regardless, European metal fanatics are known for not caring about language and care more about the music itself which is a good thing. Metsatöll came out and started the show with toona. Right away, you could feel the energy that Metsatöll gives off. The first thing you’ll notice is that aside from traditional band instruments, Metsatöll also makes heavy use of their culture by adding bagpipes, whistles, flutes and other traditional folk instruments. Metsatöll next played the title track from their newest album, Katk KutsariksMetsatöll kept the energy up and made the audience sing and dance as they played fun folk songs like Kivine maa, Ebavere, Kurjajuur and See on see maa. The band members were very energetic as they ran around on stage with nothing but smiles and made sure the fans were having the time of their lives. Metsatöll finished their performance with Metsaviha 2 then left the stage for the headlining band of the night.
Arkona released their eighth studio album Khram in 2018. Their lyrics are influenced by Russian folklore and Slavic mythology. Singer Maria “Masha Scream” Arkhipova sings her music in her native language of Russian. The lights went out and the band members came out one by one with Masha being the last one to go on stage. She started beating on her drum center stage which was also covered by a big bull-like skull. It was the intro track, Mantra. The first track played was Shtorm. Right away you can hear the folk metal music which sound beautiful yet brutal combined with Masha’s growls. The next tracks played were Tseluya zhizn’ and Khram. Arkona has a great stage presence with all the band members actively moving around on stage and interacting with one another. Lots of headbanging was also seen as well as singing along by fans. Arkona never had a dull moment on stage as they played hits like Goi, Rode, Goi!, Zakliatie, Arkaim and Stenka na Stenku. Masha showed off her impressive vocal range with a mix of traditional folk metal growls and beautiful clean chants. The show seemed to be over at one point, but the fans kept chanting the band’s name. Arkona listened and came back out for an encore. The encore was one of their most popular songs, Yarilo. It was the last chance the fans had to let loose and they did not disappoint. Arkona finished up the show, bowed and left the stage once again. A great performance by one of Pagan metal’s best bands and for sure the Hollywood crowd can’t wait until Arkona returns.

 

Arkona

 

Metsatöll

September Mourning: Canyon Club – Santa Clarita, Ca – 9/17/19

September Mourning are a hard rock band. The band came to be originally from a graphic novel depicting the character of September Mourning played by singer Emily Lazar as a human-reaper hybrid who feels the need to give some human souls a second chance, and thus toys with Fate. To get the full experience of the band one must not only submerge themselves in the music, but the graphic novels as well. The band members consist of Emily Lazar/September (vocals), Riven (guitars), Wraith (guitars) and Stitch (drums). September Mourning went on tour once again not to just perform, but to also collect the souls of fans who the band refers to as their Children of Fate. September Mourning went on tour with Smile Empty Soul so this time they’re the opening act compared to their headlining tours from last year. They have been releasing new music as of late with a new EP coming out soon. One of the stops on this tour was at the Canyon Club in Santa Clarita, California.
The lights went out and the reapers made their way to the stage with September cloaked in a robe and revealed herself to the audience. September Mourning started their show with Before the Storm from their latest album, Volume II. The band sounded great with Lazar leading with beautiful vocals sounding just like the album. The stage was dark most of the time except for lights on the side that would briefly illuminate the stage giving the band a dark vibe. Their music can be described as hard rock and Gothic metal. Lazar is a great frontwoman as she was very energetic and move her hands and body to the motion of the song. Fog would also come up on stage to give the eerie feeling of meeting death. September Mourning has been releasing music as of late and they wasted no time and performing some of their new songs. The next song was Empire followed by their newest released single, Unholy. September Mourning went back to their latest record and played Skin and Bones. You could see the chemistry between the band members as they smiled at one another and stood next to each other showing support for one another. Another new song was played which was Glass Animals. Nearing the end of the show, September Mourning brought out the big hits. Up next is a song written for their fans called Children of Fate. Lazar would have the audience sing along with her for the chorus. Being that they were the opening act, it was only natural that they were given a short set time. The grand finale for the show is the band’s biggest hit so far, 20 Below. Another great song to sing along and rock out to. September Mourning got a criminally short set time so hopefully next time they come around, it’s for a set twice as long.

 

Ghost: – Rabobank Arena – Bakersfield, California – 9/13/19

Swedish Grammy Award-winning band Ghost announced a North American tour still in support of their fourth album and latest release Prequelle which was released in 2018. Ghost is known for their theatrical outfits. Seven of the eight members go by the title of Nameless Ghouls and wear identical black costumes and silver-horned masks to conceal their identities. The band’s main man now goes by the name of Cardinal Copia and naturally resembles a Cardinal and sometimes wears a white tuxedo. His face is also a prosthetic mask with black eye makeup. Before the Cardinal existed, there was the character known as Papa Emeritus. Emeritus has gone through multiple incarnations as Papa Emeritus I-III (going backwards in age from old to young) and now a fourth and much older character called Papa Nihil who is unrelated to Cardinal Copia. Their music can be described as a mix between Blue Oyster Cult, The Beatles, ABBA and Black Sabbath‘s debut album. They explore various music genres including doom metal, pop rock, and occult rock. Although their lyrics are Satanic in nature, the band has stated numerous times that their lyrics are tongue-in-cheek humor and are not meant to be taken seriously. The first stop on the tour was the Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield, California. The same day of the show, Ghost surprised fans by dropping two new songs, Kiss the Go-Goat and Mary On A Cross. Both part of a new 7″ LP titled, Seven Inches of Satanic Panic. Even in the early hours of the morning, fans were lined up in anticipation for the arrival of Ghost; many of which came from out of town and drove a few hours to see them. Many fans even went dressed us as the Cardinal, Papa Emeritus and even Satanic nuns known as Sisters of Sin. It was Friday the 13th, there was a full moon out and a satire Satanic band was in town. A perfect way to start the weekend. The opening act was the rock/alternative metal band, Nothing More. They were very energetic and made for a great opening band. Looking around the venue, the crowd was either into them or they weren’t. Regardless, Nothing More gave it their all and never had a dull moment in their performance. Once they finished their set, it was  time for the band that everyone came to see.
A black curtain covered the stage to keep the audience in suspense as to what was going on behind the curtain. The lights eventually went out and the whole venue erupted into a frenzy as the intro track from the newest album Ashes (Ring Around the Rosie rhyme) played over the speakers. The Nameless Ghouls were the first ones to come out and started the show with the first song from the newest album, Rats. The fans were more than ecstatic to finally see Ghost as they cheered, smiled, raised their hands and of course, sang their hearts out. The next song played was Absolution, one of the favorites from their previous album, Meliora. The song featured some explosions that added a nice surprise to the song and had fans singing along once again to the chorus. The third song played was another new track, Faith. It’s one of the more rock tunes from the album and for sure it’s a banger that will have you singing along and raising your horns. The lights went dark for a bit as Ghost prepared the first surprise of the night. The next song played was Mary On A Cross, one of the brand new songs from the new LP. A nice treat for fans to enjoy this song performed for the first time ever. The lights went out once again as the Cardinal went off stage and left it to the Nameless Ghouls to perform the haunting instrumental track, Devil’s Church. After a quick costume change, the Cardinal came back out to rejoin the Ghouls. This time, they would play Cirice (Sa-reese), the very song that earned them their first Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 2016 as well as the #4 spot on the Mainstream Rock Charts. The Cardinal once again went off stage and the Nameless Ghouls played another instrumental song, Miasma. For an instrumental, this song is fun to listen to and makes you wanna dance. The fun didn’t stop there. More than halfway into the song, fog started to come up from center stage. Little by little, it was revealed that Papa Nihil was slowly making his way to the stage with the help of a crew member. His mission? serenade the audience with a sweet sax solo that had the audience losing their minds and cheering for Papa Nihil. The stage went dark once again and a single bright light lit up to reveal Cardinal Copia in a full white tuxedo. Not only that, but riding a tricycle. A very humorous way to entertain and surprise the fans as you could tell by the amount of laughter heard. The next song performed was another fan-favorite, Ghuleh/Zombie Queen. This song had been missing from their recent setlists and fans had missed it dearly. So to have it back on the list surely put smiles on the fans’ faces and allowed them to sing their hearts out to the chorus. Up next was yet another treat for fans. Ghost performed the instrumental track Helvetesfönster from the new album for the first time ever. It was amazing to be the first show where the song is performed live. Ghost kept playing hit after hit and it was never a dull moment and your eyes are always kept on stage not knowing what would happen next. Cardinal Copia proved to be a very majestic frontman as he embraced his character during his performance by dancing which often includes crotch thrusts that drives the female (and some male) fans wild. Watching him dance was mesmerizing as if he’s trying to lure you into his seductive grasp and you have no choice but  to submit to him. The Ghouls themselves were very entertaining as they beautifully played their instruments to perfection. The chemistry from all the band members was great. Cardinal Copia would notice how one Ghoul was taking the spotlight center stage and shooed him away. Other times, the Cardinal would sneak up behind one of them and spank them for good measure. It it by far one of the most entertaining shows of the year. Ghost would continue to play all the hits including From the Pinnacle to the Pit, Ritual, Satan Prayer and Year Zero. The song Mummy Dust was one of the highlights as one of the Ghoulettes came center stage and played a keytar to the song’s synth solo. To end the song, cannons shot out confetti along with Papa Bucks, dollar bills made to look like Ghost currency complete with a value of $666 and Papa Nihil’s face. Since one of the brand new songs was played, it only made sense to play the other new song. The next new song was Kiss the Go-Goat and it was another special moment as it was also performed live for the first time. The show seemed to come to an end as Ghost finished their set with Dance Macabre from their new album. This disco-like song gets fans up and dancing and singing along to its extremely catchy chorus, “Just wanna be, wanna bewitch you in the moonlight! Just wanna be, wanna bewitch you all night!”. The show came to an end and Ghost left and the stage went dark. All seemed quiet, but quiet is what the opposite of what Ghost is. Knowing that fans weren’t ready to go home just yet, Ghost came back out for an encore. That encore was Square Hammer from their previous Popestar EP. It is currently one of Ghost‘s most popular songs and even sat on the #1 spot on the Billboard Mainstream Rock charts in January 2017. The chorus goes, “are you on the square? are you on the level?” which is one way fans talk to each other when referring to Ghost or the song. As the song and show came to an end, a blanket of fireworks rained down on the stage like a waterfall. A beautiful ending to a beautiful show. Ghost left the stage for the final time and guaranteed the fans left with nothing but smiles and memories. The fans got Ghost and now they had everything.

 

Power From Hell: Catch One – Los Angeles, Ca – 8/22/19

   POWER FROM HELL
Live at Catch One – Los Angeles Ca.
  Thursday, August 22nd 2019

Overview:
On this rowdy evening in the city of angels, Los Angeles heads witnessed the malevolent spectacle that is Power From Hell, hailing all the way from Brazil to treat us all with the finest blackened speed thrash. A stacked lineup brought upon by none other than Elegy Ensemble who always brings nothing but the finest underground acts in the west coast. With support from ‘Unholy Lust’, ‘Transcendence’ and ‘Malefic levitation’, you could not ask for anything more with this monster of a night. Locals and die-hards gathered over at the Catch One (Also known as Union Club) right in the black heart of the city. The venue offers the perfect vibe welcoming the heathens for a night of debauchery, metal, and mayhem. Unbeknownst to the rest of the social residents, this is definitely the place to be for the occasion.
 
Malefic Levitation:
Upon arrival, there’s notice of a delay in set times due to low attendance causing the show to be pushed back a bit, putting the first act at around 8:45. Malefic Levitation reigns in from the northern side towards Fresno. With the eerie, raw and primal essence thrown into this heavy mix, they’re a force to be reckoned with. Summoning tracks from their latest EP ‘The Ancient Plague’ displays their intention and effort for shear brutality, this music is definitely not for the weak-hearted. Best fit for the bloodthirsty who are in need of the extreme should adhere to the dark force that is Malefic Levitation. With a shortened set you’re only left to be glad being a participant of this malignant extravaganza.
 
Transcendence:
Soon after the alter makes way for one of LA’s finest that brings forth chaos no better than Transcendence who delightfully make an appearance in displaying their brutal sounds of the underground. their is a distinct sound when singer Tom lays down growls and screams that gives you the impression of a possible mic adapter, however these raw demon like sounds are straight from power passion that’s complimented from the face melting riffs from guitarist Miguel that follow. With early sounding death/thrash influenced style music giving the band their blaspheme and obscurity-filled sound, it’s no wonder the crowd gets drawn in and maintains attention in getting precisely what they came for. With tracks from the bands latest EP ‘Hour of Summoning’, you’re being delivered nothing but the goods that keeps your skull banging against the stage. Patrons who seek evil, raw and heavy death riffs must keep a close eye for these terrorizers and all their mighty glory for it is these types of tunes worth sticking too.
 
Unholy Lust:
Just south of LA reigns the tyrants of ‘Unholy Lust’ who are heavily prepared to fill the room with the might of their blackened speed thrash. Bringing darkness and chaos in a half filled room, I’ve never heard the acoustics work so good in a bands favor like this before so it’s the ultimate pleaser. In hearing this band, you’ll hear influences of old school Slayer, Possessed, Sadistic Intent and Hellhammer rolled into one for demonic intentions can best describe this type of style for legions interested. The band is no stranger to LA and have been around for quite some time. They’ve honed their craft and reached a new level in their music from an aggressive cult punk-like style to the blackened speed witchery sounds of today. Bringing masterpieces onto the stage such as hits like Evil Possession and Evil Blasphemy. You’re in for one hell of a time. There’s definitely an adrenaline rush that grooves into you because the band delivers and engages with their audience who know know and respect the gruesome essence brought by Unholy Lust.
 
Setlist:
1. Banished from the Light
2. Enslaved in Sin
3. Evil Possession
4. Los Winos (Unholy Drunks)
5. Infernal Blasphemy
6. Humanity at its end
 
Power From Hell:
As the night finally reaches its climax, you instantly notice the way the room has been filled to its brim so to speak with the die-hards as they finally get a good dose in which they have prepared for. The vigorous and wicked legion of hellions in Power From Hell fronted by singer Sodomic have extended their taste and passage for music, who once were in favor of the sadomasochistic styled music writing. Now have gone above and beyond to summon the presence of diabolical hate and malevolent speed. For as soon as the opening riff starts playing there’s already destruction taking place in the pits as the rest of the crowd makes haste. As if the barricades were enough protection from die-hards who have gathered to gaze upon these Brazilian thrashers, Sodomic does an impressive job in mesmerizing spectators with these heavily dark lyrics which as we all know keep the satanic lustful context and enriched fast pace bangers for everyone to endure. Unlike the other blackened speed acts that hail over Europe, PFH doesn’t cease the opportunity to come all the way from their homeland and leave with the sole appreciation of its heavy brigade also bringing in Alvin from Elegy Ensemble, with a back and forth almost synchronicity of engagement. The band truly stays in character of impertinent havoc. My personal favorite liking when it comes to PFH would be the sound, the way you can hear the cry of these blackened metal riffs which don’t sound recycled like you’ll often hear from time to time. This definitely keeps the blood fresh in listening for the distinction to how the perfect blend of both black and thrash metal can be the unholy duo that delivers that pure madness involving concubines and witches. With the tour well underway, the band’s currently touring the US and ending down south in Mexico. If you’re catching any of these shows, be prepared the cops paint leather gods taking over and terrorizing us all the way from Brazil.
 
Setlist:
1. Swallowed by Darkness
2. Torture Garden
3. Suicide Metal
4. Lucy’s Curse
5. Caligula
6. Elizabeth needs blood
7. Obscure Creation
8. Power from Hell
9. Lust… Sacrilege & Blood
10. Into the Sabbath
11. Prostiture of Satan
12. False Puritan Philosophies
13. Encore- Bathory (Satan my master)
14. The True Metal

Power From Hell

Unholy Lust

Transcendence

Malefic Levitation

John 5: Invasion album review

Guitar God John 5 released his monstrous ninth solo album titled Invasion on July 31 digitally with the physical copy coming out September 1st. John 5 is best known as the current guitarist for horror master Rob Zombie as well as former longtime guitarist for the Antichrist Superstar, Marilyn Manson. John 5 is one of today’s most criminally underrated guitarists and deserves much more credit for his work and amazing musicianship. John 5’s band mates include Ian Ross on bass and Logan Miles on the drums. Together, they are known as John 5 and the Creatures. John 5’s solo albums contain no vocals and is strictly instrumental as he lets his guitar doing all the singing. I was able to get a copy of the album for a review and naturally, I was not disappointed. The album starts with the instrumental horror title track, Invasion. Once that ends, the album takes you on a journey that is best listened to when not doing anything so you can focus on the music. The first track is a bit of a techno tune with a robotic voice saying the name of the track, “I Am John 5“. Soon after, the guitar playing starts and you’re just like, “whoa!” and could make your head spin. His guitar-playing truly is one of a kind. A great starting track for the album. Midnight Mass is a super fun song to air guitar to and is easily one of the best songs on the album. Zoinks! is a clear reference to the catchphrase said by Shaggy from Scooby Doo and the song itself is a great tune. For the song Howdy, John 5 explores a more rockabilly/hillbilly/western sound which suits the name and even has backing vocals with a voice saying, “howwwdyyy!”. Very fun to listen to and even dance. Crank It – Living With Ghosts is another super catchy tune with a backing voice saying, “crank it, crank it, motherfucker”. The guitar work and music will make you wanna dance and could be played at a dance club. The next track Cactus Flower slows things down as the line “they’re all gonna laugh at you!” from the classic horror movie Carrie is played at the beginning of the song. The song is very mellow and overwhelms you with sadness like you could just lay there and think about the sad or hard times you’ve had in life. A beautiful piece of music. The next track I Want It All goes back to metal with catchy guitars and a robotic saying “I Want It All” throughout the song. The guitar segment from 2:00-2:16 is absolutely tasty. The next track is called I Like the Funk and as the name suggests, it is a very funky song. Like something out of the 1970’s. It even has a female voice in the background saying, “I Like the Funk”. Another song you could dance to. The album’s finishing song is Constant Sorrow. It’s a very interesting song because it actually sounds like a Primus song similar to the outro song from South Park with the way the guitar playing sounds. A relaxing song a great way to end the album. The whole album is super fun to listen to if you just enjoy music with no lyrics. If you’ve loved John 5’s previous work, then you will not be disappointed with this release. Order your copy now at iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify and Amazon Music. Physical copies of the album come out September 1st so be sure to visit your local record store then! Wanna see John 5 live? He has an upcoming tour in the fall and one stop in Los Angeles which is his last home show of the year. See below for tour posters

Tracklist:

  1. Invasion
  2. I Am John 5
  3. Midnight Mass
  4. Zoinks!
  5. Howdy
  6. Crank It – Living With Ghosts
  7. Cactus Flower
  8. I Want It All
  9. I Like the Funk
  10. Constant Sorrow

 

Demons & Wizards: The Wiltern – Los Angeles, Ca – 8/17/19

Demons & Wizards are a power metal supergroup formed by vocalist Hansi Kürsch of German power metal legends Blind Guardian and guitarist Jon Schaffer of heavy metal legends, Iced Earth. In their 20 year career as a band, they have only released two album being Demons & Wizards (2000) and Crimson King (2005). A third album is currently in the works for a 2020 release. American metal fans were shocked to find out that after 20 years and only touring Europe, Demons & Wizards announced a USA tour. This tour was super special because Demons & Wizards made it clear that this would be their first and only North American tour. The band mates included members of Blind Guardian and Iced Earth. Demons & Wizards wouldn’t be coming alone. Joining them on tour would be heavy metal shock rockers Lizzy Borden and folk metal band, Týr. Los Angeles was blessed to be the first stop on the tour at the Wiltern. A perfect way to spend Saturday.
The venue was well packed just as Týr was starting. Týr is a folk metal band from the Faroe Islands, a group of small islands between Norway and Iceland. On March 8, they released their eighth studio album titled Hel, their first studio album in almost six years. Týr came out and started their show with Blood of Heroes from their previous album, Valkyrja. Plenty of Týr fans were seen in the audience singing along along sporting their merch. Týr continued with the ever so catchy song Mare of My Night from that same album. Being that Týr were from the Faroe Islands where they speak Faroese, it would only make sense for them to write music in their native language. One of those songs was Tróndur í Gøtu and is a about a Viking from the Faroe Islands who lived from 945-1035 A.D.. Týr is super fun to see live as the band members sung and danced to their music and were nothing but smiles the whole time. More songs from their set included Fire and Flame, Gates of Hel and By the Sword in My Hand. With only a short set, Týr made sure to give it their all. To end their set, they played their most famous song, the super catchy tune Hold the Heathen Hammer High. The mosh pits were wild, headbanging was seen and horns were raised. Týr finished their set and left the stage. A great start to a great night.
Lizzy Borden is a shock rock/heavy metal band formed in Los Angeles in 1983. They named themselves after Lizzie Borden, a woman accused of the axe murders of her stepmother and father in 1892. In 2018, they release their seventh studio album My Midnight Things, their first album since 2007. They are known for their use of props and masks to give their live shows that shock rock image similar to those of Alice Cooper. Lizzy Borden came out and started with My Midnight Things from the new album. Singer Lizzy Borden came out with a silver skull mask and cape to give himself that menacing look. Another one of the greatest hits performed was Red Rum and naturally is about the Stephen King book, The Shining. One of the highlights of the show was when Borden came out wearing another skull mask, but this time in what looked like a doctor’s outfit. He came out with blood on his hands and painted people’s faces with it as if marking them for all eternity. Lizzy Borden is still going strong after more than 30 years and will surely be around for much longer.
It was time for Demons & Wizards to hit the stage at long last and fans were more than ecstatic as not only was this most likely the first time anyone in the venue has seen them, but would also be the one and only time they do so. The lights went out and the fans went crazy as the band members of Demons & Wizards came out and started their performance with the first track from their self-titled debut album, Rites of Passage. The music itself was powerful and a perfect blend of power and heavy metal which is what they are known for. The fans were super excited to finally see this legendary band. The next song was the next track from the same album, Heaven Denies. Schaffer was perfect on the guitar as usual and Kürsch on the vocals was perfection as well. For the third song, Demons & Wizards played one of their best and catchiest songs, Crimson King from their second album. Fans were singing along, raising their horns and moshing away. When metal bands like this play, we are all one big happy metal family. Some of the other songs performed were Love’s Tragedy Asunder, Terror Train and Poor Man’s Crusade. Kürsch made note on how he and Schaffer were in their own bands in case the audience didn’t know. On this occasion, Demons & Wizards decided to play some songs from their respective bands. The first cover song was Burning Times (Iced Earth) followed by Welcome to Dying (Blind Guardian). The show continued with an acoustic version of Wicked Witch then back to the metal with The Gunslinger. Up next were more covers which were the beautiful ballad I Died For You (Iced Earth) and the big hit, Valhalla (Blind Guardian). Demons & Wizards seemed to end the show when they played My Last Sunrise, which seemed fitting for the show’s end. Demons & Wizards left the stage, yet fans were very vocal and clearly wanted more by cheering and chanting the band’s name. After a couple of minutes, the band came back out for some encores. The first being Blood on My Hands. Kürsch once again thanked the audience for coming out and most importantly, for being so patient for the band to finally tour the states. For the show’s grand finale, Demons & Wizards played one of their best song, Fiddler on the Green. A rather relaxing song for a finale, but perfect for the occasion. Demons & Wizards once again thanked the audience, bowed and left the stage for the final time. Even though they said this would be their one and only North American tour, it’s clear that they should come back again for longtime fans as well as fans that were unable to make it.

 

Demons & Wizards

 

Lizzy Borden

 

Týr

Static-X: The Observatory – Santa Ana, Ca – 7/25/19

Static-X was one of the most popular metal bands of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. After releasing six albums, the band broke up on June 2013. Founding member/guitarist Wayne Static passed away on November 1, 2014 at the age of 48. In his honor, the original lineup of Tony Campos (bass), Koichi Fukuda (guitar) and Ken Jay (drums) reformed Static-X and fronting the band is a mysterious member only known as Xer0. He would be wearing a mask of zombie Wayne Static complete with hair. Not only that, but Static-X would also be performing their debut album Wisconsin Death Trip in its entirety as part of the album’s 20th anniversary. A massive tour was announced with many of the dates selling out ahead of time. The tour would include DevilDriver, Dope, Wednesday 13 and Raven Black. One of the last dates of the show was at the Observatory in Santa Ana, California and naturally, it sold out weeks ahead of time. Even before Raven Black started the show, the venue was packed with metal fans.
Raven Black came out and started their show with Spider from their second album 13 which was released in 2018. Right away you’ll notice how they play out their shows in a theatrical fashion full of makeup, outfits and props to add to their carnival look. Raven Black kicked some serious ass as they played songs like Sticks N Stones, Twinkle Twinkle Little Scars, Dollhouse and Seven Sins. Some of the props brought out to add to the theatrics included a giant teddy bear, hoola hoop, mace and scythe. Raven Black ended the show with their newest single Carnival which will hopefully be on the band’s next record. A great start to an explosive night.
The Duke of Spook Wednesday 13 was up next. A metal veteran in his own right, Wednesday 13 also has a very theatrical show similar to those of Marilyn Manson and Alice Cooper. Wednesday 13 came out and started the show with Hail Ming. Wednesday 13 himself came out in a robe covering most of this body with a hook in hand making himself look like a pirate. The next song was Get Your Grave On. Wednesday 13 came back out without his robe revealing himself to be covered in glow-in-the-dark painting. Along with his stage antics, this was a combo done very well and kept his audience mesmerized and watching his every move. Other songs from his performance included Serpent Society, What the Night Brings, Prey For Me and a brand new song Zodiac which will be included in the band’s new upcoming album to be released later this year. Wednesday 13 wrapped up their show and left to make room for the next act.
Dope are industrial metal veterans who have been around since the late 1990’s. Founding member/singer Edsel Dope was a very close friend of Wayne Static so it was only natural to see Dope on this lineup. Dope came out and played Dope Money. Dope don’t use theatrics or fancy lighting and instead rely on their energetic stage performance to wow the audience and they always deliver on their shows. Dope played a surprisingly short set with their other songs being 6-6-Sick, Die Motherfucker Die, Burn and ended their show with a cover of You Spin Me Round (Like a Record). A short, but very energetic set for these metal veterans. The night was still young and two more bands were still left.
DevilDriver are also metal veterans who are well-known in the metal community. With frontman Dez Fafara being the main man of the band as well as being the singer for the nu-metal band, Coal Chamber. Many fans were in attendance and were stoked to see them. The lights went out and the members of DevilDriver came out and started with the brutal track, Ruthless. The mosh pits went wild and even crowd surfers started showing up. The next song performed was Grinfucked followed by Cry For Me Sky (Eulogy of the Scorned). DevilDriver was on top of their performance as Fafara sounded great and the rest of the band was also very energetic with no dull moments from start to finish on their performance. Other songs on this performance included Not All Who Wander Are Lost, My Night Sky, and even a cover of AWOLNATION‘s Sail. Fafara mentioned how on this tour, he would go back to his Coal Chamber days and would play some covers. He delivered and played Loco to which the fans responded by putting on one of the craziest mosh pits of the night and plenty of stage divers were seen. DevilDriver also played another Coal Chamber cover of Fiend and the fans loved that one too. Fafara brought out another surprise for the fans when he brought out his son Simon to help him play Clouds Over California. A touching moment between father and son. To end the show, DevilDriver played End of the Line and bid farewell to the packed venue. Just one more band to go which was the band that everyone had come to see.
The lights went out once again as the crowd cheered. The finale track from the Wisconsin Death Trip album December played overhead as a lit screen showed part of a mysterious word that seemed to complete itself as time went by. As the opening track ended, the mysterious word turned out to be the Static-X logo. Fans cheered once again as the band members came out one by one with Xer0 being the last one to come out. The first song played was Bled For Days, a great opening song from the debut album. The energy in the venue was at max as Static-X next played the title track from the debut album, Wisconsin Death Trip. The mosh pits were wild and crowd surfers were plentiful. Two more fan-favorites Fix and Sweat of the Bud were performed and kept the energy going. Xer0 did the band justice as he sounded just like Wayne did and was almost as if Wayne himself was playing. During the instrumental beginning of The Trance Is the Motion, the band left the stage as the lit screen displayed photos of Wayne to which the fans cheered. Static-X took a break from the debut album to play some classics. The intro track Bien Venidos (Spanish for Welcome) from their second album Machine played, then the band came out to play the first track from that album, Get to the Gone. Two other fan-favorites from the album were played which were Black and White and This Is Not to which the fans loved singing along to. Nearing the end of the show, Static-X went back t playing two of their most popular songs starting with I’m With Stupid where the fans loved singing to the chorus, “he’s a loserrrr!”. To end the night, Campos thanked the audience for an amazing tour and support after all these years and mentioned that they have one more song they left out. The fans should know this one and it was none other than their most famous song, Push It. Fans once again moshed and crowd surfed during the whole song. Everyone was on their feet going crazy and singing along. The show came to an end as Xer0 left the stage while the remaining members stayed to hug it out and once again thank the audience. It was truly a great night for metal and to honor the memory of Wayne Static. Keep Evil Disco alive!

 

Static-X

 

DevilDriver

 

Dope

 

Wednesday 13

 

Raven Black

Bad Religion: Ventura Theater – Ventura, Ca 7/19/19

Punk rock legends Bad Religion released their seventeenth studio album Age of Unreason on May 3, 2019. They are also preparing to go on their 40th anniversary next year. Since their formation in Los Angeles in 1980, Bad Religion has been delivering punk rock to the world. Even now they put on an energetic performance and get their fans going crazy. One of the stops was at the Ventura Theater in downtown Ventura, California. Ventura showed how big their punk scene is by selling out the venue weeks ahead of time. Bad Religion was ecstatic to perform in Ventura who have always welcomed them with open arms and consider Ventura their home away from home.
Bad Religion came out to a very packed Ventura Theater as their raging fans cheered for them. Bad Religion started their show with the fan-favorite Them and Us which sent the fans into a mosh pit frenzy. Right off the back, Bad Religion was very energetic and never had a dull moment. Rather than having fancy screens and theatrics, Bad Religion rely on their music to do the talking. They work very well together. Singer Greg Graffin let the audience know about their newly released album and gave the fans a taste by playing End of History. Even the new tunes still drive the fans wild. The third song was Fuck You followed by playing the fan-favorite Stranger Than Fiction from their 1994 album of the same name. Bad Religion is almost halfway through the tour, but they still had plenty of energy left to give their audience an amazing performance. Bad Religion is known for their band logo which is a black Christian cross with a red prohibition sign over it. Despite the logo, the band members do not consider themselves anti-religion. Aside from that, Bad Religion is also known for their heavy use of political lyrics often showing their hate towards past president like George W. Bush in their 2004 album, The Empire Strikes First. Bad Religion kept up that tradition with the current president where their new album Age of Unreason was inspired by the band’s disdain for Trump. Bad Religion kept up the entertaining show and kept the mosh pits going as they blasted through classics like 21st Century (Digital Boy), Suffer, Los Angeles Is Burning, No Control and Fuck Armageddon…This Is Hell. To end the night, Bad Religion played one of their most popular songs, Sorrow. Fans moshed, sang along to the chorus and even a couple of crowd surfers showed up. A perfect way to end the night. Bad Religion left the stage and all seemed quiet. After a few minutes, the members came back out while Graffin mentioned to the audience that they forgot to play a couple of songs. The first encore was another one of their best songs Infected which once again had fans moshing and singing along. To end the show, Bad Religion performed what is perhaps their most famous song and their second all-time best single, American Jesus. Bad Religion finished their show and left the stage. Fans were left with smiles on their faces and felt more than satisfied spending their Friday night with these punk rock legends.

 

Third Eye Blind & Jimmy Eat World @ BB&T Pavilion 7/14/2019

Third Eye Blind & Jimmy Eat World – July 14th 2019

BB&T Pavilion – Camden, New Jersey

Words/Photos/Videos – Jay Porks

 

Third Eye Blind & Jimmy Eat World pulled up to Camden on Sunday with special guests Ra Ra Riot as the Summer Gods 2019 tour rolled through Dirty Jersey. It’s one of America’s top 30 cities… in terms of crime rate (for perspective, I live in NYC and we didn’t even make this list). My girlfriend and I are here for 2:30pm as she was lucky enough to win us VIP passes (Meet & Greet, soundcheck, free food, free drink, air conditioned lounge access all night). Shout outs to the “Livenation Lounge” on that one. Comfy couches and ice cold diet Pepsi? Can’t beat it.

 

Anyhow, here’s what you came for. It’s the latest Concert Confessions Video Wrap up!

Jimmy Eat World as a co-headliner was perfect. When they had the fans up I’m thinking “Man, I know it’s hot but no way those fans are gonna help us tonight!” And for those that don’t think I’m funny, the fans added to the light show as you’ll see below,

Setlist: Pain, Futures, Bleed American, Lucky Denver Mint, 23, Work, Love Never, Sweetness, Always Be, Hear You Me, Sure and Certain, Big Casino, A Praise Chorus, The Middle.

 

Third Eye Blind is working on a new record. As they were last summer when they came around and told us that. But in the meanwhile, they can continue to play fun shows for people like me and I’ll enjoy all of that.

Setlist: Screamer, The Kids, Never Let You Go, Back To Zero/Can You Take Me/London, Graduate, Wounded, I Want You, Slow Motion (Stephen Jenkins solo), Motorcycle Drive By, Company Of Strangers, Jumper, Bonfire/Anything/Crystal Baller/Blinded (When I See You), How’s It Going To Be.

Encore: Waze, Semi-Charmed Life

Judas Priest/Uriah Heep: Toyota Arena – Ontario, Ca – 6/28/19

British rock/heavy metal legends Judas Priest and Uriah Heep announced a tour together which could only mean it would be a tour to not miss for rock and metal fans alike. This year, both bands celebrated their 50th anniversary so what better way to celebrate that to tour together. In 2018, Judas Priest released their eighteenth studio album Firepower which brought the band back to their classic heavy metal roots. The fans and critics loved it. Also in 2018, Uriah Heep released their 25th studio album, Living the Dream. Friday night was the perfect way to end a full week’s worth of work and what better way to spend it than with two legendary bands.
Uriah Heep was up first and even before they came on stage, the venue was already packed with loyal metalheads of various ages. Both old school and young fans were in attendance for this monstrous show. Uriah Heep came out and started their show with Grazed By Heaven. The crowd cheered as they got a chance to hear these British legends perform their highly acclaimed music. Vocalist Bernie Shaw still has the chops to sing his heart out to perfection. Guitarist and founding member Mick Box still plays his guitar beautifully and is a majestic sight watching him play. Uriah Heep kept the energy going as they played through their hits which included Take Away My Soul, Gypsy and Stealin’. Shaw took a moment to thank the audience for all their support after all these years and was more than happy that the band was still going strong on its 50th anniversary. To end their show, Uriah Heep performed their most famous song, Easy Livin’. Uriah Heep rocked the building with nothing but energy and good music and did an excellent job warming up the audience for the heavy metal Gods.
The venue was packed with ecstatic fans just hungry for classic heavy metal. The lights went out once again and the audience roared with excitement as the intro for the song Necromancer from the new album started as the members made their way to the stage one by one and started Necromancer. Just as the singing part of the song started, the Metal God himself Rob Halford came out wearing a Necromancer outfit complete with staff and skull. It was just the start of the show and already off to a great and powerful start. The only thing missing from the band was the presence of the legendary Judas Priest guitarist, Glenn Tipton. He sadly had to retire performing with Judas Priest in 2018 due to being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, though he occasionally performs with the band. In his place is producer and guitarist Andy Sneap and what a fine job he has been doing as a fill in. Next song played was the classic Heading Out to the Highway which hasn’t been performed live since 2012. Easily one of their best songs as fans could be seen singing along and banging their heads. The third song was another classic The Sentinel which also hasn’t been played since 2012. Another song that’s a perfect blend of speed and power for fans to sing along to and raise their horns. Judas Priest is obviously one of the greatest bands of all time and it’s only further proven as they flawlessly performed their music which is just as beautiful as the album sound itself. One thing that was noticed was that Judas Priest dropped some of their usual and best known tracks from their setlist like You Got Another Thing Comin’, Electric Eye, Metal Gods, and Turbo Lover. Instead, they took this opportunity to play some classics they haven’t played in a long time. Some of those songs included Judas Rising, Steeler, Out in the Cold, Tyrant, and even the live tour debut of (Take These) Chains from their monumental 1982 Screaming For Vengeance album. The song Victim of Changes was one of the highlights from the performance as Halford still hits those high pitch notes with so much power that you almost have to cover your ears. That feeling was only matched during the final guitar solo as video clips of Tipton were shown on screen playing guitar as Judas Priest paid tribute to him letting Tipton and the audience know that he is always with them in spirit. So many good songs were played and to what is supposed to be the show’s end, Judas Priest played the fan-favorite All Guns Blazing which also hasn’t been played since 1991. Judas Priest left the stage and all seemed quiet. Not too long later, the familiar sound of a motorcycle engine revving was heard over the speakers which mean it could only mean one thing. Judas Priest came back out with Halford being last, but this time he came back out on his traditional motorcycle signaling the start of one of their signature songs, Hell Bent For Leather. Fans love singing along to this song and will get all the metalheads to stop what they’re doing to jam to this. The next encore is perhaps their most famous song and that every metalhead in the world should know, Breaking the Law. Another song for fans to raise their horns to and bang their heads. Halford even let the fans sing the chorus as he held out the mic to the audience for them to sing, “Breaking the Law, Breaking the Law!”. Hearing everyone in the venue come together to sing this song was truly a spectacle. Sadly, it was time for the show to come to an end. Judas Priest ended the night with another one of their great classics, Living After Midnight.  This was the last chance the audience had to sing along with the Metal Gods and it was beautifully done as they sang along to the chorus. The show was spectacular from start to finish and no doubt everyone went home with huge smiles on their faces as all things heavy metal should be.

 

Judas Priest

 

Uriah Heep

Nita Strauss and Kore Rozzik

Almost everyone in the rock n roll community and beyond has heard the name Alice Cooper at some point. He’s a legend in metal and rock n roll history having played thousands of shows and released many well known albums and singles. However a lesser known name up until recently in Nita Strauss. Nita is the current guitarist for Alice Cooper and is rapidly rising as one of the most talented metal and rock guitarist in music today. I came across Nita through a close friend and fellow guitarist who also admired her amazing skills. However, playing with Alice Cooper is not the only performing the Nita Strauss does. She also writes her own music with her own self titled solo project and has just wrapped up her tour with the New York City band Kore Rozzik. I was lucky enough to get the chance to shoot one of the stops of this tour when they made their way through Baton Rouge, LA. They played a small theater called the Varsity Theater, which is within only steps from the campus of LSU.

The Varsity Theater in Baton Rouge, LA is one of the few small town venues left in the area for live music. Regardless of how small it is they always seem to draw big name acts such as The Black Dahlia Murder, Cannibal Corpse, Gwar, and Black Label Society. Being a concert photographer and fellow metal head I’m always looking for great acts, local and big name alike, to shoot. The Varsity Theater is one of the few good venues left that not only book amazing acts but also allow cameras without a press or photo pass. However, like many small venues, the lighting at most shows is less than ideal for photographers. Never the less, Nita Strauss and Kore Rozzik tore the house down.

Supporting Nita on this tour was a New York City band named Kore Rozzik. Fronted by a singer known by the same name, Kore Rozzik took the New York City music scene by storm and rapidly rose among artist in the area. Also known as “The Bastard Child of New York”, he and his fellow band mates have created their imagery and stage presence based off of influences from such idols as Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie and Megadeth. This band, however, was unknown to me before this show and I was skeptical upon first glance. With the face paint, props and outfits I was unsure about them until they began to play. All members of this band are very talented and showcased their talents from the start to the finish of their set making all of my questions vanish. This band is most definitely worth checking out for anyone who likes this type of metal.

If any of my fellow metalheads reading this article are looking for a new act to catch live or some new music to listen to I highly recommend checking out Nita Strauss and Kore Rozzik.

 

 

 

 

Clemens Wijers “Parasite Twin” EP review

Clemens “Ardek” Wijers is best known as the lyricist and songwriter for the Dutch symphonic black metal band, Carach Angren. On July 26th, he will be releasing his second solo album, Parasite Twin. His first solo album Worlds was released in 2017. Wijers started playing piano at the tender age of 7, followed by 8 years of keyboard and music lessons at his local art school. In 2002, he studied for a year at the Tilburg Conservatory to refine his skills while continuing to compose music. After several band incantations, he formed the symphonic black metal band Carach Angren with his friend and former band mate Dennis “Seregor” Droomers on vocals and brother Ivo “Namtar” Wijers on drums. He writes a large portion of the band’s music, using classical music as both a foundation and an inspiration. After five albums with Carach Angren, they continue to achieve widespread success and gain new fans wherever they play. I got a chance to listen to the new EP to review and was super excited to see what the mind of Clemens Wijers came up with next.

  1. Machine (Memoirs of an Algorithm): The song has a nice dark industrial sound to it, like a dark rave, almost. As if it could be used as the intro to a horror movie. The song deals with the protagonist of the song reflecting and confessing the systematic and gradual decimation of his victims. It makes for a great opening track and sets the mood.
  2. Parasite Twin: The album’s title track and the catchiest song on the album. The song was inspired from a true story about a man who had surgery done on him and was found to have a mass living inside him complete with hair and teeth. The story is mixed with both horror and comedy elements. The song once again has an industrial metal sound. You can hear the comedy elements in the song when the protagonist complains about his “twin sister” always wanting the opposite of what he wants even including the lyric “bla blah blah and meep meep meep” clearly mocking his sister’s bickering. The catchiest song on the album that will have you playing the chorus in your head all day.
  3. Nightmare: The sound on this reminds you of something Nine Inch Nails would come up with and it’s amazing. An industrial, yet haunting sound. My favorite part of the whole album starts at 1:45 when it’s just keyboards, guitar and drums. It gives you that feeling of doom and being chased in an endless nightmare.
  4. Fucked Up: Another Industrial track that sounds like something Nine Inch Nails would come up with, but with a horror twist. The song also has a dance music vibe that could be played at a goth dance club. Very fun to let loose to and dance.
  5. Closing In: The album’s closing song. The story revolves around the inner world of a stalker, an idea that came to Wijers after a past experience. A rather chilling story to go along with the catchy chorus and dance music.

To listen to the single Parasite Twin, click here.
To preorder your copy of the EP plus his other solo album Worlds, click here.
Interesting in his horror metal band Carach Angren? Check out photos and review of their Los Angeles show from last October by clicking here.
Still hungry for more? We sat down for an interview with the man himself!

-CC: What was the easiest part about making the album? And the hardest?

CW: The interesting is that I never planned to make this EP. After I came back from touring in December with CA, I started working on new Carach songs but also different songs, possibly for other artists. At one point in March I had so much new stuff that I really felt the urge to release something. Then I listened to one of the songs I had already recorded in a good way (the single) and thought that the vocals I had temporary put on the track were not so bad. I kept working on some other tracks, added vocals and during the process I got more and more excited so I decided to make the EP. The challenging part for me was to not put a lot of different arrangements into the songs, I wanted to keep them more compact and “simple”. Also, I took on the whole production myself so I learned a lot about production. I upgraded my studio equipment a lot and that helped me make the mix really big and punchy.

-CC: What was your inspiration behind the story of the album? Were you out on tour looking for inspiration? Or did you sit down and let it come to you?

CW: This time there is not a story on the EP, there are 5 completely different tracks, both musically and lyrically. It was in that sense a nice escape from the Carach world where everything has to work together somehow. The inspiration for the title track came from a story I read about a guy who actually had a parasitic twin inside of him. It was almost like a horror story. They found teeth and some hair inside of him after many years. I wrote something down about it in my notes and when I was working on the music for this song the idea came to use this in the lyrics. Instead of making a horror song, I wanted it to be light and even a bit funny. So I started thinking about actually having another person attached to you or inside of you who is opposing you all the time and then the idea started to flow. I didn’t work hours in a row on it, I just let it flow like you suggest in your question.

The opening track “Machine (Memoirs of an Algorithm)” tells the story about an algorithm looking back on the damage it has on to us as humanity. This idea came to me after reading several books about the influence of changing technology on our psychology. One book that made a huge impact on me was “The Shallows” by Nicholas Carr. The internet at first seemed to have been something that liberated us from distance and other boundaries but slowly has developed itself into new boundaries again. Social media used to be a tool that was completely free and you could reach so many people instantly. These days you have to pay to reach people, which is perfectly fine but it means the whole thing has completely shifted again. I found out about this when we were playing shows with CA and sometimes people that lived almost next to a venue we had played a week before would write us like “When are you playing here again?”. They hadn’t seen any update on the show. That’s when I realised that our news feed and everything we see is almost entirely controlled by algorithms, who show you paid ads. I myself am merely looking at these developments, I’m not opposing them or being a whiny critic. It just all fascinates me and that’s how I came up with this song. Depicting a machine confessing its carving out of humanity.

-CC: Could we ever see a tour where you play your solo albums?

CW: I would love to play these songs live somehow. I don’t have a plan for it yet but the desire is there yes.

After my first solo album I felt the urge to do something very different, not just soundtracks but make actual songs where I sing and play all the instruments.

-CC:  What were the similarities or differences for the creative/writing process from your solo albums to Carach Angren?

CW: The similarities are that when I compose for Carach I usually compose the whole songs in its entirety, it’s only then that the other guys take the material and make it their own, like changing the drum patterns, adding ideas for lead guitars etc. This time I was just immediately finished after I was finished haha. Also I tried to keep things simple, work with a chorus – verse structure. I had a lot of fun doing things this way. A big influence on that was when I worked on material for Till (Lindemann) [of Rammstein]. He always suggest keeping things short, compact but super effective.

Another example in which this process differed from CA is that I worked more on the production of the songs. I think the composition work was like 30% and the mixing and arranging was like 70%. I have learned a lot on the production side of the whole thing.
-CC: Were there any movies/bands that you used as inspiration for the album’s sound?CW: During the last seven months I have dramatically upgraded my studio equipment. I now have this perfect listening environment where you sit in frond of the speakers on the sweet spot and the instruments are literary placed around you, almost 360 degrees. It wasn’t easy or cheap to reach this haha but now it’s incredible. This helped me super much to improve my mixes. Some albums that really influenced me on that aspect are Michael Jackson’s Thriller. When you listen this album on good headphones you hear all these binaural effects they have put in there. It is amazing. The same goes for Nine Inch Nails – the Downward Spiral. It’s creepy how his voice his constantly panned off center for example. Things happen left and right of you and change constantly. Also I tried to make the drums really epic, not just a metal drumkit but big Taiko drums, digitally distorted snare drums, etc. I wanted it to sound industrial, massive and almost other worldly at times. For the voice, I just gave myself complete intuitive freedom. I didn’t use auto tune or any of that. I wanted it to sound raw and only used effects like delays and stuff to enhance a certain atmosphere the tracks needed in my opinion. I had a lot of fun doing this. I also only started playing guitars in January of this year. I’m left handed so I always had this idea of buying a left-handed guitar, but somehow postponed it all the time. When I finally bought one in the end of December I couldn’t stop playing. It opened a whole new world for me.

-CC: Will there be more solo albums in the future?

CW: Yes for sure, because I can’t stop writing new material haha. It gives me new inspiration and energy to return to the writing process of CA for example. It’s like a playground for me where there are no expectations, I can do whatever I want.

-CC: How is your current tour going so far?

CW: For me personally it’s one of the best tours ever. The festivals are crazy and despite the heat wave in Europe there are a surprising amount of people showing up in the club shows, really dedicated CA fans which is fucking awesome!

-CC: Any news/updates on the next Carach Angren album?

CW: We are currently planning the recordings, the music is almost completely done. We want to start recording this fall and are looking a t a 2020 release. I’m really excited about the new material, it’s going to be different again but the CA spirit is of course entirely in there.

-CC: When not doing anything music related, what do you do in your spare time? Hobbies? Books? Movies? Art?

CW: I read a lot of books, psychology, spirituality, motivational topics. Currently I have a couple of books in my phone I re-read all the time because they influence me greatly. One of the best discoveries lately for me is “The Power of your Subconscious Mind” by Joseph Murphy. It’s an incredibly book containing so much wisdom. If you are interested in those topics I definitely recommend it.

-CC: What are some bands you’d like to play with that you’ve yet to play with?

CW: To be honest I am never focused on which bands we play with because my focus is entirely on our show. Of course when opportunities arise I always look at how it would benefit the band and the fans who come to the shows. I think as being a fan of music I would look at this question differently. I remember my first metal open air festival. It was Dynamo in 1999. I remember that seriously ALL the bands I had recently discovered played there. This was a dream back then. I could just pick up the festival booklet and move from tent to main stage and back and see them all. As far as CA I would like to play an actual stadium and bring an incredible Horror experience.

-CC: What are some of the best crowds/countries you’ve played?

CW: On this tour my favourite show so far was on Full Force in Germany. Because we played at 2 am in the tent stage and still there were many fans and they were going crazy. I watched people doing little parades in the audience on “Pitch Black Box” and had to hide my smile. It was really cool and energetic haha.

-CC: Anything you’d like to say to your fans?

CW: Thanks so much for all the support I get everywhere with both CA and my solo experiments!

Dark Funeral/Belphegor: 1720 – Los Angeles, Ca 6/15/19

This year’s Devastation on the Nation tour proved to be a brutal one not to be missed. The tour is known for hosting some of the best metal bands around and brings them together for one unforgettable night. This tour featured some brutal bands like Poland’s Hate and legendary death metal act, Incantation. The tour was headlined by some of Europe’s finest metal bands and it was none other than Austria’s blackened death metal legion Belphegor and Sweden’s black metal lords, Dark Funeral. Los Angeles may have been the final stop on the tour, but was the first show to sell out in a couple of weeks after tickets went on sale! The event was held at the somewhat still new venue known as the 1720 Warehouse which has quickly, in fact, become one of LA’s most hated venues. A show like this that sold out quickly at a venue like this was a clear sign that the show should have been held at a bigger and better venue, but who thinks about that these days when it comes to booking shows? Regardless, it was set to be one of the best metal tours of the year.
Belphegor released their eleventh studio album titled Totenritual in 2017 and have been actively touring since then bringing their satanic imagery to their legions of fans. The lights went out and the packed venue cheered and chanted Belphegor‘s name as the band members made their way to the stage. The stage was setup with upside drown crosses, animals bones and snakes. Belphegor started their evil ritual with Sanctus Diaboli Confidimus. Belphegor unleashed their music to the packed venue and the fans went crazy. Frontman Helmuth sang with his diabolical vocals and made faces to terrorize his audience with. The next two tracks were tracks from the newest album which were Totenkult – Exegesis of Deterioration and The Devil’s Son. In between songs, Helmuth would address the audience with his evil voice, chants and holding his hands together as if saying a prayer. Belphegor continued to lay waste to the Los Angeles crowd as they moshed to satanic hymns like Hell’s Ambassador, Stigma Diabolicum, Lucifer Incestus and Baphomet. It was time for Belphegor to say their farewells to the audience and finished the show with Gasmask Terror. Such a powerful performance and still one more band to go.
Dark Funeral released their sixth studio album Where Shadows Forever Reign in 2016. Dark Funeral last came to the USA in 2018 and before that, it had been several. For people that missed out last year, this was another chance to see one of Sweden’s most legendary bands. With plenty of fans in attendance, Dark Funeral needed no introduction. The lights went out and the crowd once again cheered as Dark Funeral came out and started with King Antichrist. The crowd went wild with mosh pits as Dark Funeral played classic black metal tunes with singer Heljarmadr singing with screams and shrieks. Dark Funeral came out wearing their traditional armor giving them a menacing look as well as traditional black metal corpse paint. Dark Funeral continued raging with Temple of Ahriman followed by My Dark Desires. It’s always great having black metal bands come to the USA, especially if they hardly ever come. Dark Funeral is not afraid to show how their lyrics always contain topics on Satanism and anti-Christianity. One such song performed was The Arrival of Satan’s Empire where Heljarmadr gets a traditional cross with Jesus Christ on it; licks it as well as rubs it all over his crotch. Not for the faint of heart or those who their religion seriously. Regardless, fans loved every minute of the performance and just couldn’t get enough. Dark Funeral continued the black metal assault with Nail Them to the Cross, The Secrets of the Black Arts, and Unchain My Soul. It was sadly time for the show to come to a full end. Dark Funeral thanked the audience for an amazing show and tour before wrapping it up with Where Shadows Forever Reign. The whole show was worth checking out with plenty of great acts on the bill. Many people missed out on this show due to it being held at such a small venue so hopefully bands of this caliber play at bigger venues.

 

Dark Funeral

 

Belphegor

 

Avatar: The Mayan – Los Angeles, Ca – 6/13/19

Swedish melodic death metal band Avatar released their seventh studio album Avatar Country in 2018. Since then, they have been actively touring all over the world performing for their old fans as well as making ton of new fans. Avatar embarked on a North American tour also featuring Devin Townsend, Dance With the Dead and ’68. One of the last stops on the tour was at the Mayan in Los Angeles, California and it was packed with metalheads hungry for one of Sweden’s finest bands.
The lights went out and fans cheered in excitement as fanfare music played over the speakers signaling the arrival of Avatar Country. Guitarist Jonas “Kungen” Jarlsby took his place on a royal chair in the back overlooking the whole venue in his King outfit greeting the citizens of Los Angeles. A podium stood front and center of the stage as the rest of Avatar made their way to the stage and started the show with A Statue of the King. Singer Johannes Eckerström was the last member to come out and took his place on the podium and started singing the song with his traditional melodic death metal growls. The first thing you’ll notice is how the band wears matching Circus Ringmaster outfits which fits perfectly with the theme of the band. Right away, you see how energetic the band is with every member putting in work to be sure they’re not standing in one spot the whole show. Eckerström was especially mobile with plenty of hand motions, plenty of facial expressions, and of course sticking his tongue out a lot. The song ends and the King makes his way front and center of the stage once again sitting on his throne. The second song played was the new album’s first song, Legend of the King. After a perfectly executed song, the King took his place with the rest of the band as they played the fan-favorite song Paint Me Red which had the audience singing along. Avatar next played another one of their best songs Bloody Angel that sounds just as beautiful live as it does on the album. The song once again had the audience singing along and banging their head. Avatar never had a dull moment in their performance and kept the crowd entertained as they performed other favorites like King’s Harvest, The Eagle Has Landed, Tower, Puppet Show, Let It Burn and Smells Like a Freakshow. Avatar seemed to near the end of the show as they announced Torn Apart as the show’s finale. They left the stage and all seemed quiet for a bit. Eckerström came out after a quick break to talk to the crowd and decided to continue to the show and deliver some encores. Eckerström once again welcomed the crowd to Avatar Country with he and the rest of the band wearing new white Ringmaster outfits. Avatar performed one of the new album’s best songs, The King Welcomes You to Avatar Country. This song is extra fun as during the encore, Avatar drops a giant disco ball and fills the venue with bubbles. Because  nothing shows how metal you can be like blowing bubbles. Sadly, it was time for the show to come to an end and so Avatar decided to end their show with a bang. Avatar played their most popular song, Hail the Apocalypse. The crowd went wild and gave Avatar all their energy for the grand finale. Avatar ended the song, came out front and center of the stage to bid farewell, bowed to the citizens of LA, then left the stage once again. Avatar is one of the most entertaining bands to see live and even if you’ve never heard of them, they’re definitely worth seeing live as they will most likely leave you wanting more and make a fan out of you.

 

Avantasia: The Grove – Anaheim, Ca – 5/19/19

German power metal supergroup Avantasia released their eighth studio album Moonglow on February 15, 2019. The band is the brainchild of frontman Tobias Sammet who also fronts the metal band, Edguy. Avantasia is a rock/metal opera in that it features contributions of various vocalists and musicians. Some of the guest vocalists that have contributed to Avantasia include Michael Kiske (Helloween), Alice Cooper, Dee Snider (Twisted Sister), Klaus Meine (Scorpions), Sharon Den Adel (Within Temptation), Hansi Kursch (Blind Guardian) and Mille Petrozza (Kreator). Avantasia‘s albums have a concept or theme to it telling a story that can span more than one album so if you’re into albums like that. The name Avantasia comes from the words “avalon” and fantasia” and describes “a world beyond human imagination”. Soon after the album’s release, Avantasia set out on a huge world tour with new guest vocalists on the road as well as some previous singers. The last time Avantasia came to the USA was in 2016 which was their first USA tour. Only a few cities in the USA were fortunate enough to be blessed by Avantasia‘s presence and one of those stops was at the Grove in Anaheim, California. What makes these shows extra special is that Avantasia never has a support act and always plays for three hours non-stop! The Grove was packed with European metal fanatics that will surely be a power metal performance that they won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

The lights went out and the crowd cheered as the main musicians of Avantasia came out and started the instrumental intro to the new album’s first track Ghost in the Moon before the main man himself Tobias Sammet came out and started singing the song. Knowing power metal, it’s not uncommon for songs to be lengthy. Ghost in the Moon alone was almost ten minutes, but a glorious ten minutes. On backing vocals were Adrienne Cowan and Herbie Langhans who were amazing at keeping up with the fans and providing their amazing vocals to most of the songs performed. The next song performed was another new song Starlight and for this song, Avantasia was joined on stage by one of the special guest vocalist Ronnie Atkins who also fronts the band, Pretty Maids. The next song was yet another new song Book of Shallows where Atkins continued to be a guest singer for the song and this time was joined by Cowan who sang the harsh vocals section of the song (originally sung on the album by Mille Petrozza of Kreator). Sammet took a quick break to talk to the audience about when he first started promoting the album, radios wanted a single to air. Sammet picked The Raven Child and talked about how the problem with that song was that it was just over eleven minutes long and jokingly said he shaved off twenty seconds of the song to satisfy radio stations. With that, Avantasia played The Raven Child in full with another special guest vocalist Jørn Lande who has worked with various bands including his own band, Jorn. Coming up next was a very special guest and it was none other than the Dark Lord of Queensrÿche, Geoff Tate (ex-Queensrÿche). Tate sings two new songs on the new album and he was more than happy to show why he’s one of the greatest metal vocalists of all time. Tate breezed through Alchemy then slowed things down with Invincible which was a beautiful song to listen to. The next track played was the album’s title track, Moonglow. On the album, the song is sung by Candice Night who is the wife of  guitar legend Ritchie Blackmore and fronts the folk rock band Blackmore’s Night with Blackmore. On this occasion, the Anaheim crowd would once again be graced by the presence of Adrienne Cowan with her beautiful singing who matches Night’s tone to perfection. Sammet next introduced a new guest vocalist and an old friend of his Eric Martin who fronts the rock band, Mr. Big. They would go on to perform a cover of the 80’s classic song, Maniac. Avantasia kept the energy going as they played hit after hit never having a dull moment in what seemed an endless performance. Some of the powerful songs performed included Twisted Mind, The Scarecrow, Master of the Pendulum, Dying For an Angel, Avantasia, and their longest song Let the Storm Descend Upon You which clocks in at just a little over twelve minutes. It was time for the show to come to an end and so Sammet mentioned how this song put Avantasia back on the map and is very special to him. The song was Lost in Space and it just as beautiful performed live as it sounds on the album, The Scarecrow. The band left the stage and all seemed quiet. Sammet came out to address the audience once again and was more than willing to play some encores and went back to the debut album, The Metal Opera. The first encore was Farewell with Cowan on vocals. To end the three-hour metal extravaganza, Sammet brought out every vocalist involved on the show which was a special special sight to see. The final encore was a blend of the songs Sign of the Cross followed by the grand finale, The Seven Angels. Everyone in the band got together and bowed to their audience and left the stage once again. The fans were happy to see Avantasia for what many in the audience was their first time. Hopefully it’s not another few years before Avantasia comes back.

 

Death Angel: Whisky A Go Go – Hollywood, Ca – 5/18/19

San Francisco Bay Area thrash titans Death Angel released their ninth studio album Humanicide on May 31, 2019. The album received positive reviews from fans and proved that Death Angel still releases killer metal music to bang your head to. Death Angel had just finished a co-headlining tour with thrash metal legends Overkill. Now, they embarked on a mini headlining tour and the second to last stop on the tour was at the Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood, California. In classic Hollywood style, the show sold out ahead of time. This Saturday night was set to be an unforgettable one.
The Whisky was packed with metalheads by the time Death Angel was ready to take the stage.
The lights went out and the sold out crowd cheered as Death Angel came down stairs and started the show with Thrown to the Wolves. The Whisky came alive as a mosh pit started and welcomed the thrash legends. Up next performed was Claws in So Deep. Death Angel next announced how they would be going back to 1987 to their debut album, The Ultra-Violence. Since their debut album, only vocalist Mark Osegueda and guitarist/founding member Rob Cavestany have remained in the band. The crowd cheered as Death Angel played Voracious Souls and once again sent the audience into a frenzy with classic thrash metal riffs. Death Angel kept the energy alive the whole time as all band members were energetic on stage and seemed to be feeding off the crowd. Some tracks from their previous record The Evil Divide were played which were Father of Lies and The Moth. Death Angel took a quick break so Osegueda could address the audience. He thanked the audience for all their support all these years and also announced that the band’s current lineup is longest-standing lineup from the band’s career. Death Angel would go on to play a mix of classic material and new tunes which consisted of The Dream Calls For Blood, Mistress of Pain and Lost. Osegueda made note on how the band had just released their new record and would now perform some new tracks for everyone’s listening pleasure. The first track played was the title track and the album’s first single, Humanicide. The next two new tracks performed were I Came For Blood and then the album’s next single, The Pack. It was now time for the show to come to an end and so Death Angel once again went back to their debut album. They first played the intro to the instrumental title track The Ultra-Violence which normally just past ten minutes long, but only the intro was played on this occasion. After the intro, Death Angel jumped into one of their most popular songs, Kill as One. The floor went just as crazy with mosh pits and shoving. Death Angel wrapped up their show, thanked the audience again, and took their leave. Fans were left happy from their performance and proves that Death Angel still has plenty left in the tank.

 

Metalachi: House of Blues – Anaheim, Ca – 5/17/19

Metalachi is the world’s first and only heavy metal mariachi band. If you haven’t heard of them by now, they are a mariachi band that does covers of classic rock and heavy metal songs using mariachi instruments. It may sound a bit odd at first, but a quick YouTube search and you’ll find plenty of live videos from their hundreds of performances. The members in the band are: Vega De La Rockha (vocals), Paco Halen (guitar), Kiko Cane (bass), Kyla Vera (violin) and El Cucuy (trumpet). Their stage outfits are inspiration taken from other rock/metal acts like Gwar, KISS, and Rob Zombie. Metalachi currently has three albums out titled Uno, Dos and Tres (One, Two, and Three). Metalachi has been climbing the ladder little by little and this show at the House of Blues in Anaheim, California was no exception as this show was once again sold out! As the stage was ready for Metalachi, the first thing you’ll notice how women’s bras from previous shows cover their mic stands showing just how raunchy their fans can get. The fans were more than ready to await the arrival of Metalachi.
Leading up to the show, Metalachi teased a special guest invited to their show. Many speculations were made, but things got started quickly as the guest was the one to warm up the audience. The lights dimmed and the guest came out which turned out to be none other than the internet sensation and YouTube star, Frankie Quiñones aka Cholo Fit Creeper. He warmed up the audience complete with jokes while wearing a six pack of Corona beers around his neck. The audience loved him and laughed at his performance and made for a great start to the show. Creeper wrapped up his stand up show and next introduced Metalachi as they made their way to the show and started with Rainbow in the Dark (Dio). Right away, you can see how Metalachi turns classic heavy metal tunes into dancing mariachi tunes. Up next, De La Rockha brought out a traditional Mexican instrument called a guiro and played it to the tune of Iron Man (Black Sabbath) which also gave the song a feeling of wanting to dance. Metalachi next paid tribute to everyone’s favorite internet cat meme Grumpy Cat who had recently passed away. De La Rockha said how Grumpy Cat could now pass through the Pet Sematary Gates. As tribute, Metalachi played Cemetery Gates (Pantera). Aside from the performance, Metalachi are also known to be comedians on stage as they constantly berate and taunt each other with insults and jokes. It’s always a warm feeling seeing everyone laugh as El Cucuy let everyone from the first couple of rows is known as the “splash zone” due to the possibility of the women ending up pregnant by the end of the show. El Cucuy also made note on how he noticed the variety of people in the audience. Regardless of gender, age or sexuality, everyone was seen with smiles, dancing, and having a good time which is what a Metalachi show is all about. Kyla Vera jumped in on the conversation and said that if everyone in the audience can dance together then surely they can….sing together. Metalachi continued their entertaining performance by performance more classic songs like Raining Blood (Slayer), Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen), One (Metallica) and for this special occasion, Metalachi premiered live for the first time their cover of Under the Bridge (Red Hot Chili Peppers). To end the show, Metalachi played Canción del Mariachi as seen on the film Desperado and is also performed by Los Lobos. Metalachi wrapped up their show and said goodbye to their sold out audience once again leaving them wet and satisfied. If the Metalachi loco train ever comes to your area, they are definitely worth checking out. Even if you have to road trip!

 

 

Deicide: 1720 – Los Angeles, Ca – 5/15/19

Legions of death metal have hit the road and they struck this evening, nowhere better than in the downtown area of Los Angeles. Deicide brings forth an ensemble of hate, destruction and death riffs from their latest album overtures of blasphemy which released late last year. The 1720 has brought forth 6 powerful acts that define the sheer velocity that is Death Metal. With a house full of die-hards and ragers throughout the night and no dead sense, this is the perfect evening to witness the heady doses of main acts such as Origin, Jungle Rot, and The Absence. This Los Angeles even is able to benefit us with local opening acts, Transtorno the Blackened Death metal band from Inland Empire. Whose theatrical mix and influences will consist of Behemoth, Uada and Watain. This Spanish-themed band definitely gets points for taking their act to the next level with their music as well as engagement with oncoming crowds. With their latest tracks from Himnos a Lucifer, a must have for any collection. Dark as Death definitely tears through souls with their brute force of death and grind, really warming up the crowd even further. The band is terrifyingly good and brings you nothing but hard and heavy tones from the latest Bless the Witch, a must, especially for a show like tonight.

The Absence:
Florida keeps bringing out astonishing acts, first of the main acts is The Absence. While I have never heard of them nor have I heard any of their tunes the name was definitely circled around by those around waiting to see the band take the stage. From the first minute the boys started playing, I knew then and there that the rest of this set would be unforgettable. A 5-piece like this who is as coordinated and fun-loving while delivering a solid banging set of jams that have never been this much fun to witness. Many a times there’s a melodic death act thrown into this mix and for the better to stay close to the main genre while having a hint of versatility is a core advantage to being the type of act that stays in your head for a long time. Not only has this band initiated their rightful place to the crowd, members have come from an extensive background of heavy predecessors such as Venom Inc., Havok, Arch Enemy and Wombbath, its no wonder the boys are as good as they are as well as experienced. Definitely the type of music worth keeping track of!
Setlist:
1. The Murder
2. Necropolis
3. Septic Testament
4. Walking Shadows
5. Celestial Hysteria
6. Dead and Gone

Jungle Rot:
One of the main highlights for this evening and my all time favorite fiends from Wisconsin, Jungle Rot only delivers old school death and they do it so damn well. Right off the bat the crowd is part of one mighty spectacle, The band does not hesitate to unleash their monstrous jams such as Doomsday, Terror Regime,  E.F.K and Burning Cinder. While the frontside of the stage is heavily crowded towards the back mostly what you can witness is a number of bodies slamming towards each other. Key Ingredients for this group are the demonic screams from singer Dave Matrise, the heavy riffs from Geoff Bub, as well as the pounding bass lines from Jimm Genenz are the perfect combo that keeps the audience asking for more. With a variety set featuring their latest tracks on their self titled album which has been released for almost a year already. There is no slowing down when seeing Jungle Rot. Every chance I get at seeing them I make sure to make the most of it because they definitely pack a punch!

Setlist:
1. Doomsday
2. Burning Cinder
3. Send Forth Oblivion
4. Stay Dead
5. Worst Case Scenario
6. E.F.K
7. Fearmonger
8. Terror Regime
9. Psychotic Cremation

Origin:
Up next comes tech-death legends Origin, who hail from Topeka, Kansas. With the crowd already packed and the night still young, these folk are beyond ready for more. Nothing but concentration and skill is shown from all sides of the stage as Origin presents us with gravity blasts and sweeps that melt faces and even have the crowds in action with voluntary stage diving. Singer Jason Keyser reacts best when engaging with the crowd, commanding the next move and blasting vocals that are flawless in their latest tracks and jams such as The Aftermath and Finite. The band exceeds brutality delivering much better through a live performance than in studio because of engagement.

Setlist: N/A

Deicide:
Now begins the almighty destruction of Florida legends, Deicide! when asked by sound guys if he’s ready to go, best thing to come out of singer Glen Benton’s mouth “I’m ready to f*ck sh*t up!” All the hellions in the room cheer and roar, ready for this heavy set to get started. First track to be unleashed is the classic Dead by Dawn and damn what a way to getting your night started. Death Metal can’t be described without picturing Glen’s high pitched screaming demon vox that interpret hell and all its glory of evil. Almost 2 hours of a full on classic death setlist along with tracks from their latest album Overtures of Blasphemy, it’s all killer and no filler. Brutality surrounds you as the band delivers their music that is as dark and intense as they come such as One with Satan, Serpents of the Light and Sacrificial Suicide. It’s one hell of a night for everyone grateful enough to be a part of this event and making sure that they have plenty of energy to last the rest of this monstrous tour. Currently these high rollers are taking this tour and domination throughout the US, I highly recommend taking a trip out to the nearest venue to be one with Deicide as well as this tour!

Setlist:
1. Dead by Dawn
2. When Satan Rules His World
3. Scars of the Crucifix
4. Crawled from the Shadows
5. They are children of the Underworld
6. One with Satan
7. Once upon the Cross
8. Defying the Sacred
9. Serpents of the Light
10. Seal of the Tomb Below
11. Oblivious to Evil
12. Excommunicated
13. Dead but Dreaming
14. In the minds of Evil
15. Sacrificial Suicide

Photos & review by: Hugo Juarez

 

Deicide

 

Jungle Rot

 

Origin

 

The Absence

Meat Puppets – May 18th 2019

Monty Hall – Jersey City, New Jersey

Words/Photos/Videos –  Jay Porks

Just off the release of Dusty Notes, the Meat Puppets are back on tour with their original drummer Derrick Bostrom for the first time since the mid 90s. Bostrom may be the headline, but let us not bury the lede and forget about Ron Stabinsky. An aficionado on the keys, there was a certain extra energy the Pups were hitting tonight (and on this whole tour, so I hear). Almost as if the usual trip to outerspace wasn’t enough and we have to take this ship into another galaxy. If that’s even something you can fathom.

On a Saturday Night in Jersey City in a venue called Monty Hall, Let’s Make A Deal with the first of many editions of  a new thing we’re doing here at Concert Confessions: We call it the Concert Confessions Video Wrap Up. I mean, with all the concert police all over the internet telling people like me to put down their devices at shows I figured this is a good way to let all those people know that I have two middle fingers for them.

Anyhow, below we have a few videos from the show last night. Take a look, a listen and share with your friends!

This was my 20th time seeing the Meat Puppets. Here’s to at least 20 more! Full set list below:

Combichrist: The Regent – Los Angeles, Ca – 5/10/19

     

     Norwegian industrial metal band Combichrist will be releasing their ninth studio album One Fire on June 7th. In the meantime, they are busy touring around the world playing their dance/electronic music that gets the blood pumping and fists in the air. Recently, the band saw the departure of their percussionist Nick Rossi and the sad departure of their longtime and fan-favorite drummer Joe Letz after 13 years as the main drummer. Combichrist now has two new members and are still putting on electrifying performances. Their music is best described as electro-industrial with their songs containing elements of electronic music and industrial. Combichrist is currently on tour and one of the stops was at the Regent in Los Angeles, California. A perfect way to spend your Friday night with some electro-industrial metal to relieve stress.
The lights went out and the crowd went wild as the intro track This Shit Will Fuck You Up started. The band members came out one by one with founding member and singer Andy LaPlegua being the last one on stage. Combichrist started the show with Hate Like Me, a brand new song that will be on the new album. The next song played was the favorite Never Surrender which got the crowd singing along to the catchy chorus. The third song played was another fan favorite Shut Up and Swallow that also had the fans singing along to the obvious catchy chorus. Looking around, you could see fans having a good time with plenty of beer drinking, smiles, and dancing. Plenty of fans also dressed the part for industrial metal which involved eye liner, latex, and greasy-looking hair. Combichrist continued the show with blood-pumping tunes like Throat Full of Glass, No Redemption, Follow the Trail and They. Combichrist had an impressive display of strobe lights to give the show a classic electronic show with lots of fog. Along with the performance, the band’s two newest members were also shining. Drummer Dane White and percussionist Will Spodnick were wild displaying their drumming techniques and were very entertaining to watch. They will surely be great additions to the band. The show seemed to come to an end when Combichrist played what is perhaps their most famous song, What the Fuck Is Wrong With You?. Fans were singing along and jumping as they haven been and even a mosh pit was started to the energy of this song. Once Combichrist finished, they left the stage. The fans stayed and didn’t seem to wanna go home yet. After a short break, Combichrist came back out for some encores. The first encore was Blut Royale. The fans were happy to have Combichrist back out so they showed their appreciation by jumping and going crazy once again. The next two encores were the fan-favorites Electrohead and Get Your Body Beat. By this time, it had gotten warm in the venue with everyone looking all sweaty, but were clearly having the time of their life. To end the night, Combichrist played Maggots At the Party. The show ended and Combichrist surely left plenty of smiles on the faces of all their fans both old and new.

 

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